Omerzu’s Winter Flies cleans up at 2019 Czech Lions

Olmo Omerzu, photo: ČTK/Kateřina Šulová

Winter Flies by Olmo Omerzu swept this year’s Czech Lion national film awards at the weekend. The road movie picked up no fewer than six prizes, including the coveted Best Film and Best Director. The other big success was The Hastrman by Ondřej Havelka.

Olmo Omerzu,  photo: ČTK/Kateřina Šulová
The Best Film prize at Saturday’s Czech Lions went to Winter Flies, a road movie about two teenage boys – played by previous unknowns – who drive off into the frozen wastelands in search of adventure.

The Czech entry for this year’s Oscars also earned gongs for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, Best Screenplay – and Best Director for Slovenian-born FAMU graduate Olmo Omerzu.

“I feel this film in two parts. It was very long preparation and I remember those preps and rehearsals with actors very much.

“It was kind of similar to theatre rehearsals.

“And then the second part was very tough. We didn’t have a lot of time because the budget wasn’t so big, so it was always in a hurry.

“But the actors were so well-prepared that… it wasn’t easy, but it was working very well.”

The film has been a great success here tonight at the Czech Lions. Why do you think it’s been such a hit with the Academy?

“I don’t know. I think the story has some kind of charm, which comes from the main protagonists.

“Also the message is clear and we can easily be attached to the topic or to the tone of the film. That’s why I think it has got this success.”

The movie with the most nominations, historical drama Toman, walked away virtually empty-handed.

The less-fancied The Hastrman by Ondřej Havelka, however, had a successful night. A fantasy drama based on a novel by Miloš Urban, it picked up Best Cinematography, Best Music and Best Costume Design.

The Hastrman also earned the Best Actor prize for first-time nominee Karel Dobrý, who said he had been drawn to the title role by the book.

“I read the book the year it came out, in 2002, and it was amazing to read.

Karel Dobrý,  photo: ČTK/Kateřina Šulová
“I thought one day it would be a great movie and I thought, I’d love to play the man.

“But there was no sign that anybody was going to shoot this film, so it was a surprise.

“And it was a great surprise in the sense that they were going to choose different actors but in the end I got the part.

“It was fun and I did enjoy it.”

Of the other main prizes, King Skate – about the pre-1989 skateboarding scene in Czechoslovakia – won Best Documentary at the 26th edition of the Czech Lions.